Patients Encouraged to Sign up for MyThedaCare
Communication is vital in healthcare and new technology recently installed at Community Health Network and Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital locations will make it easier than ever before for physicians to share records and information. In addition, patients can schedule appointments or message with their providers electronically, without picking up the phone.
The Epic electronic medical record system now being used at local sites was installed as part of the affiliation agreement with ThedaCare. Epic allows physicians to view a patient’s medical records from not only CHN and Wild Rose facilities, but also from all of ThedaCare’s facilities, said Dawn Shuman, Wild Rose’s chief operating officer.
“Electronic medical records are an incredibly powerful tool that enhances safety and reduces costs,” she said. “If a patient is seen locally and routine tests are done and then the patient goes on to see a specialist in the Valley, those tests don’t need to be redone since the doctor can call the results up on the computer. It saves time and money.”
Electronic medical records improve the quality of patient care, said Tammy Bending, administrator of Berlin Memorial Hospital. “For example, warnings will pop up if prescribed medications interact or if there’s an allergy the physician needs to know about,” she said. “Everything is geared towards making it a better experience for patients.”
As part of the Epic installation, Wild Rose and CHN patients can now create and access their own MyThedaCare account. MyThedaCare is an electronic online patient health portal where patients can securely message their physicians’ offices as well as view their medical records, said Cynthia Fisher, DO, a family medicine physician with CHN.
“The online portal helps patients be more informed about their care. They can see test results or read a summary about the office visit. For example if they have questions about the name of a new medication, it’s on there,” she said. “It’s also a great way to send secure messages to the physician’s office if there’s a simple question. Sometimes, it’s hard to get through on the phone so MyThedaCare can help eliminate some of that back-and-forth.”
By using MyThedaCare, patients can better manage their health by using the secure portal to send medication requests or questions at any time of the day or review their health records. Patients also receive an email when test results are posted, cutting down the wait time. Parents can also access their children’s medical records to view vaccination history or see if their child is due for any immunizations.
Signing up for MyThedaCare is easy, Dr. Fisher said. Patients can receive information on how to activate their account at their next office visit or call their doctor’s office.
Electronic medical records are also important when patients are seen by a new physician, Dr. Fisher said. “If one of my patients comes into the emergency department, the physician can call up his record and see all of his vital information, including medications and allergies. It’s a great tool,” she said.
Bending said Epic allows doctors to read reports and records made by other physicians, which will improve physician communication. “Providers have access to information so they can have meaningful conversations about patients since everyone is looking at the same record and information. EMRs track information and improve quality of care for all our patients,” she said.
ThedaCare, including CHN and Wild Rose facilities, are also part of the Care Everywhere network, which means that electronic medical records can be shared with patient permission with other health systems around Wisconsin using Epic, including Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Froedert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, Gundersen Health System in LaCrosse, Aspirus System in Wausau, Bellin Hospital in Green Bay, and University of Wisconsin clinics and hospitals.
“That provides even more convenience and peace of mind if someone is traveling outside of the area and needs to see a doctor,” Bending said.
Both Bending and Shuman thanked community members for their patience during the installation process as staff members familiarize themselves with the new system. “There’s been some bumps, but the end result is worth it,” Shuman said.
ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of seven hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, ThedaCare Medical Center-New London, Shawano Medical Center, Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca, Berlin Memorial Hospital (a part of Community Health Network), and Wild Rose Memorial Hospital. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, and ThedaCare At Home. ThedaCare is one of the largest employers in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.